India at present is opposite to development


India is going through a dark phase that was, perhaps, never wished for by its founding fathers. The brunt of this darkness is borne by Indians across the country but disproportionately impacts the minorities, particularly the Muslims. 

India was founded on Nehruvian ideals of secularism, which is to treat all religions equally. But today, not only is the executive heavily and unlawfully favoring the dominant Hindu majority, all other organs of the government including the law enforcement agencies also seem to be on this same page.

The recent Citizenship Amendment Act – an anti-Muslim law in essence – passed by the Union serves an example that defines the attitude of the regime. Muslims are branded as “anti-nationals” and are discriminated against in every aspect of life. 

The slogan “sab ka saath, sab ka viqas” – which initially seemed to be Modi’s “prosperity in unity” ideal in response to the Nehruvian “unity in diversity” – is as hollow as political slogans come. India’s minorities are further disempowered than ever before.

The current regime is motivated by Hindutva rather than aspirations and needs of the general public. The country is being run by a party that pledges its allegiance to Hindutva and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), to which the Nehruvian ideal of “unity in diversity” is unacceptable before their vision of a gradual establishment of a Hindu religious order.

The recent incidents in the country where Muslims were falsely held responsible for the spread of the Covid-19 virus – centered around the media’s focus on the Tablighi Jamaat Markaz – is worrisome and a manifestation of the hatred for Muslims by India’s Hindus.

A lawyer was recently beaten up to pulp by police thinking him to be a Muslim, due to long beard. Later apologizing on finding him a Hindu. Propagandas play an important role in influencing the people and driving them towards desired goals of the dominating ideologies: hatred for minorities. The propaganda against Muslims and the unfiltered hatred on social media has damaged the fabric of India’s society.

When any country’s law enforcement agency indulges in such irresponsible and selective behavior with its people, the spirit and the plinth foundation of such a country is considered dead. India, considered the largest democracy, has to conform to democratic principles and ideals and treat its subject’s alike in similar situations. 

However, the roots of hatred against Muslims are getting more strong and spreading rapidly. Mob lynchings of Muslims in the name of protection of cows – considered sacred by upper caste Hindus – have become the order of the day. A mob lynching might kill a single individual or two but it kills and buries the basic foundations of a country, Indiaspend data shows that 84 percent dead due to Cow-related violence since 2010 are Muslims and 97 percent attacks occurred after 2014, when a new regime came to power. 

The Allahabad High Court’s decision banning azaan, the Muslim call for prayers, over loudspeakers is also an indicator of the curbs on Muslim’s religious freedoms. Though the use of loudspeakers to amply the call is not an essential part of Islam, the use of loudspeakers has crept in owing to evolution of technology and society—just as it has for any other religion. This pronouncement of the court can’t be seen as anything other than interference with religion, one particular religion.

The current political scenario in India is, however, clear that religion is used as a means to gain political might and power by exploiting the emotions of people on religious grounds. 

The secular nature of India is integral to the Indian Constitution as held by the Supreme Court in cases titled “Kesavananda Bharati v State of Kerala AIR (1973) 4 SCC 225” and again reiterated in “S.R Bommai v Union of India, AIR (1994) SC 1918”; that every religion be protected equally and people belonging to different religious groups be given equal treatment.

However, recent episodes in India have made clear the Indian state’s disregard for secular ideals and unity. D. D. Basu in his commentary on the Constitution of India says, “No sane person would question the proposition that the objects of Religion and politics are different and that they shouldn’t be mixed up. Obviously, the cause of both will be ruined if one is used for achieving the purposes of other.” 

The current political scenario in India is, however, clear that religion is used as a means to gain political might and power by exploiting the emotions of people on religious grounds. 

This state of affairs is likely to disrupt the development and progress of the society and lead to hatred and communal riots. While states around the world try to adopt more democratic values and strive towards development and prosperity, however, India seems to be running in the opposite direction, towards hindrances in development.

The hate, though, is targeted specifically against Muslims, other minorities have also faced the heat. In Kerala, a set erected for the shoot of a Malayalam film was vandalized by militant Hindus for allegedly resembling a church. The set was erected opposite to a Hindu temple for the Lord Shiva. The intolerance is gradually becoming the image of India at all levels—as evident from the recent fiasco between militant Hindus online and the royal families of Arab monarchies. 

Religiously motivated decisions and actions are destroying the ethos of India. If these anti-minority laws and the government’s tacit support to hate crimes against Muslims remains the norm, the implications would be unprecedented. 

The authors are students at the Department of Law, University of Kashmir.

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